We’ve declared the whole of June ‘Men’s Month’ and will be partnering with CALM to help stamp out the stigma around mental health in men and help combat Suicide, the biggest killer of men aged 45 and under.
We think the term ‘man up’ should be redefined so that ‘manning up’ is enlisting the troops (your bros) and talking through your issues. Throughout the month we’ll be donating £1 of every Golden Apple sold to CALM and will be sharing tips and advice from our Male team members on how they deal with their mental health. Here’s a few we’ve selected for you…
Until recently, I felt like anxiety and depression were in a sense dirty words, that they were words that should be kept secret. As men, we often associate any mental health issues with weakness and we tend to bottle things up for that reason; sadly, we’re not discussing our feelings and that’s why we’re not addressing them.
Anxiety and depression is a confusing concoction because you care about everything and don’t care about anything all at the same time and that can be incredibly isolating. I think the biggest thing that all mental health problems feed off is exactly that; isolation, which is why we need to break out of the notion that anxiety and depression are taboo.
To promote positive wellbeing, you should cut off isolation at the source and talk about your feelings. I have a small selection of friends who I talk to about my issues whenever I’m feeling low or anxious and simply talking about them can make the world of difference. Talking is the best therapy and you only need to tell one person that you trust, just one.
I think my all-time favourite quote from author Michael Cunningham perfectly sums this up; You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
I manage stress at work by setting priorities and admitting that I can’t complete everything on my list at the same time! I find that writing tasks down in order and having a physical ‘to-do’ list helps to reduce my anxiety and gives me a plan of action. I’m also all about people. Taking time to chat to friends and colleagues provides me with the energy to plough on and get the job done!
My main remedy for combatting stress and anxiety is exercise. In particular, joining my local rugby team. Being on a pitch in a game environment distracts my thoughts of other life stresses. When I experience anxiety, I find myself short of breath and my body feels tense. Running about provides that release and allows me to let the stress go. They say that when dealing with stress, your response is either to fight or flight. Rugby allows me to do both – literally tackling problems head on but also letting me run away!
80 minutes of some serious cardio means any stress or anxiety I hold dwindles away. Plus, afterwards, I’m always left feeling up-beat, full of energy and ready for my next challenge.
More recently in my day-to-day life I have learnt to develop with stress differently from when I was younger. Younger I would allow it to affect me directly & would change how I would act or respond in a situation. Now I try to look at what is causing the stress & try find solutions to make things easier. My easiest way to switch off from any work or life stress that I am feeling is to sit at home; just pick up my guitar & play – this helps my mind switch off completely
I try to view thing as ‘it is what it is’ – but not in a negative strict black & white term. There is positivity & negativity that can be seen across all aspects of life. I very much see opinions are a perception: be it positive or negative. If I am feeling stressed or negative about something its only that I am perceiving it as negative – so find a solution on how to change it to a positive.
A great way for me to deal with stress is to make to-do lists, so that I can easily organise what jobs I need to achieve and prioritise my workload effectively. This helps as I’m then focused on the most pressing tasks first. Before this, your work load can look unmanageable because you feel like you have more tasks than time, this method allows me to really break my tasks down into more manageable chunks.
Members of my family have battled with depression in the past and I think at times everyone goes through little low patches. Managing your time with to-do lists allows you to have the time to spend with your friends and that valuable time helps reduce those low patches.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Mental health awareness across genders is on the up but there is always room for improvement. The same goes for any perceived stigmas attributed to accessing mental health services, getting diagnoses or being on medication – it’s getting better, but we aren’t there yet. Any archaic notions of men being somehow less manly for reaching out for help or talking to someone are quite simply outdated. Often it isn’t the fault of those voicing these opinions as it’s ingrained after years of this nonsensical notion that men don’t require emotional support or awareness. Regardless it sucks and I’m glad it’s on the decline.”
“For those who are suffering or who know someone that is I cannot express the importance or reaching out to those around you, seeking support and taking time for self-care. Being considerate, offering help and being patient with those in your workplace takes considerably less effort than it does for them to get themselves to work when they’re going through a particularly low or anxious phase. Be kind, everyone is fighting a hard battle.”
You can learn more about the fantastic work CALM do to fight the stigma of mental health. Head to our Instagram (@TheAlchemistUK) to find out how you could win free food and drinks every month for a year for your top boy.
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